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  • Works for Me: Office chair mat as a high chair mat

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    A few years ago, I came across a reader’s tip in Parents magazine to use a plastic office chair mat as a high chair floor mat. It made a lot of sense to me, because we were already on our third high chair mat and they had all been hard to clean and keep in place. My husband immediately realized the benefits of an office chair mat too, so I promptly went out to Staples and bought the largest one they had – 46 x 60 inches and about $70. Not cheap, but not much more expensive than the three high chair mats we’d already gone through.

    It turns out the money was well spent. Several years later, we’re still using the same mat under our dining table where the boys now sit. It’s easy to clean and in fact, I can vacuum right over it. Plus, because it’s clear, it’s not an eyesore. We’ll probably leave it in place for the next three years or so, or until the boys are much better about not dropping food on the floor!

    Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at We are THAT Family.

    New idea for getting kids to take their meds

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    Let me say up front that this isn’t something I’ve done, so I don’t know if it will actually work. But since I have one kid who hates drinking medicine, this idea in the April 2009 issue of Parents magazine caught my eye:


    It’s a candy-rimmed dosing cup from KidKupz.com, which retails for $6.99 for a box of 6 cups.

    Of course, it immediately occurred to me that you could probably rim a dosing cup the same way you’d rim a margarita glass: Pour some water or simple syrup onto a small shallow plate. Pour some sugar onto another small plate. Turn the dosing cup over and dip the rim into the water or syrup, then into the sugar. If you anticipate needing more than one dose, you could prepare several cups at once. (And if you don’t already keep the cups from old bottles, you should! It’ll spare you from emergency dish washing.)

    Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at We are THAT Family.

    More on Kaboost + a high chair/booster mat tip

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    A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the fantastic chair booster called Kaboost. I wanted to show you what it looks like on our dining chair:


    Jennifer of Furore and Frenzy might recognize the mat it’s sitting on. It’s the largest office chair mat I could find at Staples, after reading the best tip I’ve ever gotten from Parents magazine (which is saying something, since I’ve picked up quite a few good ones). The chair mat is so much easier to clean than the flimsy high chair mats you find in the baby section.

    I also wanted to share a couple of videos about the Kaboost. The first one is a simple demo video showing you how the Kaboost works:


    The second video is a cute one showing the mom at table level:

    Potty Training Tip: Buy different kinds of underwear for home and school

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    I need time to catch up on my feed reader, so there won’t be a reading list today. But I did want to share a tip for potty training, since Alex is pretty much there now. At home, we keep a close eye on him when he’s in the bathroom, but it’s harder for his preschool teachers, who have to make sure all 12 children in his class are okay. So he frequently gets some urine on his underwear and pants, and of course, I bring them home to wash. I know which clothes I’ve designated as “school clothes,” so it’s easy to take them back.

    But I had a hard time remembering how much underwear he needed for school (I keep about six there) until I decided that his Go Diego Go underwear would be for school and his Elmo ones would be for home. Now when I do laundry, I separate the Diego and Elmo underwear and put the Diego ones in the pile of things to take to school on Monday.

    Babywearing tip: Pull out your maternity coat

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    Even though it’s still warm during the day here in Southern California, it’s now quite chilly at night and first thing in the morning. I usually pop Tyler into a mei tai so I can wear him and keep my hands free as we walk from the car to his day care. I found that bundling him up before putting him into the carrier made it difficult to get the straps really tight, so instead I pulled out my maternity coat, which is roomy enough for me to zip up over both of us. Now we both stay warm, cozy and secure. 😀

    Brilliant Hack: Let baby finger-paint with his food

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    Parent Hacks posted a great tip from a reader to let parents eat in peace at restaurants:

    Put a drop of baby food on a tray and let baby play with it while you eat.

    I instantly loved the idea, but we really don’t eat out anymore. It’s harder with a toddler than with a baby! But after I had fed Tyler in his high chair the other day, I realized that I could keep him content there by dropping a tiny bit of the leftover food on his tray and letting him swing his fingers through it (he did it instantly so there must be something instinctive about it!). I was able to work on dinner and clean up the kitchen a little bit before he got bored (I gave him another drop of food when he had thoroughly spread the first one out – his attention span lasted two drops, or about 20 minutes). What’s particularly wonderful about this hack is that the mess is minimal. I’m going to be using it a lot.